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Pomegranates and Myrrh

About the Film
Year Released: 
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Dancer Kamar’s joyful wedding to Zaid is followed almost immediately by Zaid’s imprisonment in an Israeli jail for refusing to give up his land. Free-spirited Kamar wants to support her husband and be a dutiful wife but struggles with the idea of giving up dance and her own dreams. Matters are complicated when a new dance instructor, Kais, returns to the studio after many years in Lebanon and takes a special interest in Kamar. She struggles to deal with the weight of Kais’s attention, which brings to the surface her attempts to balance her own desires with her duties as the wife of a prisoner.

Like the character of Kamar herself, Najwa Najjar’s filmmaking (in her debut feature) is matter-of-fact about Kamar’s situation. Instead of manufacturing melodrama, Najjar stays focused on her protagonist’s insistence on seeing her life, like anyone else’s, as an opportunity for joy. The constant interference of the external conflict—her husband’s arrest, the squatters on her land, and the soldiers filling the streets—is an unavoidable aspect of Kamar’s existence but one that she will not allow to deter her. Najjar’s intimate storytelling and Yasmine Al Massri’s sensitive portrayal of Kamar create a film that addresses honestly the way a woman might face the realities of life in modern-day Palestine while refusing to be defined by them.

-Heidi Zwicker, Sundance Film Festival, 2009

Poster Image: 
Film Director: 
Production Info
Reported or Estimated Budget: 
"Our company Ustura Films managed to bring in money for the local production budget.The funds that were brought in covered the six-member foreign crew and post-production costs...However, financing even a low-budget film takes time." - Najwa Najjar
Ramallah, Palestine
Other Interesting Production Info: 
"Finally three years ago I was ready to start; but the political situation in the country worsened. Unable to move between Ramallah and Jerusalem and the consequent fear of the foreign crews coming here, followed by the death of one of our co-producers, forced us to stop production of Pomegranates and Myrrh." -Najwa Najjar (This Week in Palestine, January 2008)
Categories About the Film
state violence and security
Racial/Ethnic Affiliation: 
Filmmaking Team
Writer's Name: 
Najwa Najjar
Hani E. Cort
Valentina Caniglia
Primary Cast: 
Hiam Abbass, Ashraf Farah, Samia Kuzmoz, Yasmine Al Massri, Ali Suleiman, Yousef Abu Wardeh
Exhibition/Distribution Info
Ustura Films
Where to find it/How to get it: 
Rare and hard to find

Dubai International Film Festival, 2008 (World Premiere)

 Sundance International Film Festival, 2009 (International Premiere)     

International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2009

Göteborg International Film Festival, 2009

Fribourg International Film Festival, 2009

Galway Film Festival, 2009

Edinburgh Film Festival, 2009

Durban Film Festival, 2009

Montréal Film Festival, 2009

Locarno Film Festival, 2009

Espoo Film Festival, 2009

Fukuoka International Film Festival, 2009

Palestine Film Festival, 2009

Warsaw Film Festival, 2009

Doha Tribeca Film Festival, 2009 (Best Arab Film Audience Award)

Cairo International Film Festival, 2009

Leeds International Film Festival, 2009

 Amal Arab European Film Festival , 2009 (Grand Prix Award)

Amiens International Film Festival, 2009

Dubai International Film Festival, 2009

Lyon Fenêtres sur le cinéma du Sud, 2010

Aichi International Women's Film Festival, 2010

Festival International de Cinéma d’Auteur de Rabat, 2010 (Youssef Chahine Grand Prix de Cinema)